tv Richard Rhodes Energy CSPAN July 14, 2018 7:30pm-8:46pm EDT
sources. then at 8:45, georgetown university professor michael eric dyson recounts meeting between attorney general robert f. kennedy and author and activist james baldwin on may 24th, 1963, held in the hopes of opening up a discussion on civil rights and race relations. and at the 10 afterwards program amanda carpenter former senior staffer to jim delaware mingt and ted cruz argues that president trump is using gaslighting strategies to manipulate american people. she's interviewed by new york "daily news" columnist and wrap up our programs at 11 p.m. eastern with ann lisa recalling black pioneers in the frontier they settled in the northwest it territory prior to the civil war that all happen hads tonight on c-span2's booktv. 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books, television for serious readers. and now here's richard roads with a 500-year history of
energy. i think we're ready to get started. [laughter] hello. welcome to a book passage, thank you for coming and joining us on such a lovely, gorgeous day. don't get that very often in june. [laughter] so thank you so much for joining us. a distinguished historian, journalist and writer richard roads won the pulitzer in 1986 for his work, the making of the atomic bomb an latest work which we're celebrating today energy a human history explores ways in which transitions and energy production over time have shaped the course of human life over 5 countries. as we witness geopolitical struggles and political debate over energy around the globe, richard's work provides us with
much needed context to understand how question got to our current energy landscape. with a signature precision awe inspiring scope of vision richard roads has invaluable blueprint for future of energy and human life. roads is author of 25 fiction and nonfiction books. and recipient of numerous grant and awards including the national book award, and national book critics circle award pane received fellowships from ford foundation, national endowment for the arts, the john simon guggenheim memorial foundation and alfred p. sloan foundation. he tested on nuclear energy in front of the u.s. senate. and peared as a host in correspondent for documentaries on public television frontline, and american experience theories. i am honored to welcome such a scholar richard roads to book passage. [applause] >> thank you. thanks for coming out on this
gorgeous day. it's a little cooler down in half-moon bay where we live. [laughter] which means that summer hasn't really started we don't have our cold foggy days yet. i got interested in this particular book as a kind of spinoff from all of the years that i've written about nuclear -- weapons. i've done totally four vol are you means on nuclear history over the the years and the truth is i read half -- ran out of nuclear history. at least where bombs are concerned. some friends have asked whe when i wases going to do the next volume i said i'll have to wait ten years until there's more history which -- it looks as if we're getting this president trump in north korea. but i was interested in the whole problem of global warming and -- wondered as i did when i wrote
to make atomic bomb if we go back to the origins of all of these developments, there were alternative ways that got lost or it very least there was some kind of depth of knowledge that -- that would help us with our president dplem ma because it is a dilemma but in materials of this is the largest energy transition that we're facing now in the history of our species. i guess to you don't count discovering fire that qualifies even more. and -- how we proceed is, obviously, a really fraught question because people are so very divided on it. and indeed some have decided to do the ostrich thing and decide it is even happening but as you'll see in my book it is not
the first time people have always had trouble changing their custom and their technologies to something new and therefore different and therefore suspicious so i just want to give you a few examples from the book and you'll find many more many the book. but -- the book begins -- queen elizabeth the first the english had been burning wood for as far back as i'm sure they could remember. the wood came from the rich forest all around london. and all across the country -- it wases a temperate place and place for lots of trees grew. but as wod man cut trees farther and a farther away from london, and this is -- a repetitive people where energy supplies concerned, they got more and more expensive to transport are the wood all the
way to london and until the wood got to the point where it was too expensive for working people to be able to afford what they needed for their fires. and that was a real dilemma because -- english homes in those days by and large didn't have chimneys. there was a hall in the ceiling. which sound pretty primitive and almost tribal. but that's the way they let the smoke from their wood fires dissipate. or more typically, they let it drift through the room and stood out open window. even where there were chimneys that i got an illustration in the book of one, the chimneys typically didn't reach above the roofline. so there was no draw -- it was just a place where whatever smoke was under the particular cover could maybe find its way out if the wind was blowing right. well, that was okay with wood. they like the smell of wood they believed it was healthy to breathe wood smoke. and --
they believed it hardened rafters and in the house so it was okay. but when they began to reach the the point where they could no long per afford wood for their fires, the alternative was by this coal from new castle up the other side of the country. and as anyone here who is old enough to remember, is dirty and it smells sulfurous and choke to breathe this smoke. and in fact it was so different from wood that they concluded that i mean this seriously -- that it wases literally the devils instrument because it was found in layers underground it was black and dirty and when you burned it smelled like sulfur so clearly the devil who was a giant figure had to deal request that some way. and evidently it got pushed around to the margins of hell,
it didn't encourage people to want to porn burn it in their house another and this is one of the reoccurring themes with energy. transitioning from one source to another is very is slow. we tend to think that if we can kind of wave our hands and build windmills we'll be okay. but it turns out that there are all sorts of resistances both technological and cultural. and in the case of the -- the technological problem was that the smoke was -- was terrible. you couldn't breathe it. it made you sec. so -- so their homes were with not set up to burn this new -- but in addition there was this kind of cultural glove act from the pulpit saying this is awful and general attitude to seeking things out from underground that this was evil and the loss as a i quote talks about the evil that --
came when men started digging gold out of the ground and so on. well, what was the solution, two problems the technological solution was the second part of the problem. the first solution was the fore fact that elizabeth died i think around 1599, 1600, and her successor james -- the sixth of scotland became the king of england james the first. but the scots had never had the english, with so they already cut down all of their trees 100 years ago and started burning somewhat better quality call it was still -- but it wasn't quite so smoky and sulfurous as the call down in england so when the james first moved to london he brought with him his custom of burning coal.
and when the kings started burning coal then, of course, everyone said -- well the king is burning coal. we could all burn coal. and that's what began to happen. however, they had to back fit all of the houses in london chimneys and there are accounts from the day about someone writing about a village outside of london saying we have about three chimneys how every house has a chimney. that was and again that's a re occurring theme when did jump forward to almost the present when london had its killer fog in the early 1950s. when so much smoke and fog was put together and that people something like 3,000 excess deaths in december and january of 1952, with for example -- the solution wases to switch to gas. first propane that was imported and then when --
rich of natural gas were discovered off coast of england on both sides of the country, then they witched to natural gas. but because natural gas is so much more energetic, than coal gas, gas made by roasting coal and using the -- the fumes that come off as as a gas source for heating and for -- for cooking natural gases got quite energetic so all of the stoves, furnaces that burn gas in england, again, had to be exchanged to replace with new-- with new cells that handled this different kind of fuel. well, i guess again and again for me the theme of this book end of our history in this regard is exactly how hard it is to transition from one source of energy major source to another.
let me tell you another story which has to do with lighting i'm sure you've heard the claim by the oil industry that oil saved the whale. the theory is that when, when kernel drake found a way to drill for oil in 1859 when whaling had purchase gun to deplete the number of whales worldwide, that the replacement of whale oil prolapsed with kerosene made from petroleum. and enabled whales not to be hunted in such numbers and so on. not true. [laughter] two things seemed to have saved the whale. one, with there was a -- much more common fuel for lamp light in those days than whale oil. whale oil was expensive. particularly the best of it -- which was used but for lamps
also to make a kind of -- to make candles from a cd it is actually kind of wax, the whales carry in a space in their heads and i think probably by heating it warming it and cooling it, change their neutral buoyancy anyone who has ever scuba-dived knows that you have to be able to adjust your buoyancy or you're going to drift up to the the top or sink to the bottom. so the whales have the same problem and -- that big case as it's called melville talks about this beautifully the big case in the head that contains this beautiful oil, this liquid and -- it seems to be there for the purpose of enabling whale to adjust its boy yen city. but that was the finest of oil it is that didn't have an odor of the other things that people use everything from vegetable oils lying olive oil and grape seed to --
talo for candle and if you've ever smelled that burning -- it's not a great smell to have in your house. but that's what people had , and all sorts of other choices. so basically, whale oil was for people who were wealthier. and the rest of us got by with whatever we could put together and way of candles or oil for lamps. the best kind of oil during the 1830s and 40s and 50s when the whale hunting was at its height, when whalers mostly from nantucket even then were or -- were knocking off 10,000 whales a year. so that as they hunted out the -- north atlantic they moved in the east coast to south america. and even which wily went around horn and hunted up west coast to south america. and then as whales kept the
essentially retreating from this intense hunting, across the middle of the pacific, basically around the equator, and then around the sea of japan, and this is exactly how the progress went from let's say 1830s, 1860s and finally up into the -- the arctic ocean that far away. but again -- this is one of those interesting kind of continue knew as they hunted further and further away from home they cost more and more to catch and deliver the whale materials. they would be out there not for two years chfg which was barely on that whale hunt but two years that meant a lot more cost for people who own the ship and had these. so that was where -- the replacement for whale oil for people who couldn't afford this expensive material was --
turpentine extracted from southern pine trees. there was a huge pine forest of bud leaf pines from carolinas to texas and someone said at the time a squirrel could go from north carolina to texas and never touch the ground which is about right. so these trees would be capped much the way a maple tree is tayed except it wasn't the sap that they were tapping it was -- it was if you will, the liquid bandage the trees produced. in the form of -- basically kerosene and score tree like this and then cut a hole down at the bottom in the trees so that the liquid would drain down into a natural basin which would then be scooped out and put into birl and put to be refined. this material -- mixed with some grain alcohol and a little bit of menthol to kill any odor that it had had
became starngd for lamp called burning fluid, and much more was whale oil was what people used -- to light their home to decline cam because of the huntings for sure but the other part of the decline came because of the confederate navy had this civil war, was really gutted knocking off whale ships. i mean some several hundred of nantucket fleet were captured and burned by these fleets clippers that the southern navy used, they would fly -- union flag which is whalers and when they got up close they take the people off and burn the ship. drop the people off with the next harbor they could come across. so the oil part of it the kerosene part came later than
the decline whaling by 1865 or so the whales were pretty much gone. and there was a low level of whaling that continued almost up to present day. some of the men here who are -- who have like to work with cars who will recall that the -- the transmission fluid that was used for many years -- in automobiles was actually from a cd beautiful whale oil. it was just a lot ofly oil for running transmissions in cars with, race cars especially. you could find oil l cans but up to through 30s and 40s. let's see -- the burning that was made from it -- suddenly dropped out of sight and here's where the oil did save the day. for lighting burning fluid droppedded out of sight when
northern armies blockaded a navy blockaded the harbors down in the south. their shifts couldn't get in and out these clipper ships these fighting ships were generally harbored in some other country when they weren't attacking northern shipping. they couldn't get in and out and therefore they couldn't move the -- the turpentine so a los of this material burning fluid, and that was just around the same time as drake -- adapting the drilling that was used for salt extraction from the ground and why did people need all of that salt i wondered that for years and finally they're searching book there was refrigeration food had to be preserved with salt. or -- or it would rot and that's the way most food wases preserved that's where ham and bacon, and a lot of other things come from. so there was a technology for
drilling -- oil prior to federal drake had been -- has been soaked off the surface of creek square oozed the from underground into a big blanket that was rung out into -- jugs or jars. and sold for litment and all sorts of health uses -- drinking petroleum was popularly considered to be a way to deal with a lot of internal parasites and whatever else people had to deal with if you can imagine. [laughter] but they learned that from native americans who used oil for same purposes. but drilling for oil meant suddenly there was an enormous supply of oil, in fact, the story of -- drake and his crew when the oil started -- becoming available it didn't spout the first oil well drill he just looked in the hall and there was the oil sitting there. but they had to have some place to put it and they didn't have
enough barrels not for a while they were scrambling over eastern whatever of the country trying to find enough they were using. beer barrels they were using whiskey barrels they were using any kind of barrels they could get their hands on. and it was never enough and then they dig trenches in the ground put oil in there. finally they got -- enough barrels going that they were able to move this -- this petroleum to refineries that were typically at least as far away as a pittsburgh and sometimes further. then, of course, pipelines were laid and that was another new technology that had to be divide -- one of the things that drake said early on in this -- many this great adventure was it is really hard to convince people to take something that's -- proven in their lives -- and with oil. but once they learned to res fine the oil and get kerosene, kerosene became this standard
fuel for lighting. in the gasoline it was so volatile that it was a waste product at refineries and they would either dump it on the ground and let it evaporate typically dump it in nearest river and they didn't e know what to do with gasoline the no value to them. oil petroleum was used for two things to make lighting trls and to use for lubrication. when did electric light came along in 1880 the oil industry was really worried. it had been most of their product was going into lighting and here it was a much different form of lighting although a lot of people who within the ready to accept this -- strange little bulb with a little -- little thing inside -- that many complained they were too bright when you think of the light that you get from a gas
lamp which was, of course, another technology at the time or from oil lamp. the electric lightbulb was sort of blinding and were about 25 basically. and what finally saved petroleum industry speaking of saving something was the development of the automobile. but even then -- there was a real contest between 1900s and about 1915 about what kind of fuel was going to be used to run automobiles. most people don't realize that the original model t as a little flex fuel switch right next to the steering wheel that will turn the kosh ray tore to deal with grain alcohol or-- gasoline. because ford had this dream that cars would run on farmer produced grain alcohol. it would sport the farms he had
been a farm boy himself and he hated farming it was hard work. and he thought this would improve the life of -- of the rule rural communities. so he kind of encouraged the use of alcohol. then came the problem of -- these were all of these early automobile engines were all quite low compression. and they could work fine with the gasoline of the day which was basically what we call white gas. didn't have anything in it to improve its octane rating and its octane typically about 50 and today our gasoline is anywhere from what -- 87 to 92 or 3 right, and which alcohol mixed with gasoline you can get -- a pretty standard 100 plus octane so clearly was answer to biggest question of those early engine which was knocking preignition of the -- vaporized fuel inside the cylinder which was a serious problem. but unfortunately, there was a kind of battle going between
ford and general motors in the second decade of the 20th century. who was going to dominate this totally new and incredibly expanding market. there were like 3,000 automobiles in the united states in 1900 and by 1930 there were millions. that's a enormous and quick transition. and general motors approach was -- we need to have a higher octane engine more powerful engine so that we can build big or cars. people want bigger cars because they become a prestige item like a bigger house or anything else. ford was much more interested as i said in keeping something that would be smaller more efficient -- so general motors -- it began this search for some way to increase octane rating -- of gasoline and -- although alcohol was one solution, mr. who was the
scientist who was doing this research didn't think there was enough alcohol production in the united states to beat the demand and -- then in any case he went to work after a lot of really rather complicated work which i described to some detail in the book i found it absolutely fascinating how they found their way to the right material. they came up with at the ethanod and instruct rei of lead into gasoline through all of the pollution problems that followed over the next -- six decades before we finally told the lead out of gasoline in the 1970s. direct result between two large structures that were try aring to dominate a new market. well let's go forward to present and giving you a few highlights, of course, i want you to buy the book -- [laughter]
today as i said, we really are facing the largest energy transition of all time. and we're facing it request exactly the same kind of -- of complex feelings, technological challenges, and everything else to go with energy transition on every scale all through the history. with the steam engine and so on. one marker i used in the bock an i'ves used -- just for myself to indicate where we're going, we don't make this transition successfully is that in 2015 august 2015 -- in the northern iranian city -- the heat index one day in august meaning temperature in humidity combined -- was 165 degrees fahrenheit. i looked in my cook book to get a sense of what my 165 degrees might be.
and i found that it's the temperature of a freshly roasted chicken. that's what we're looking at not, of course, throughout the world. but the increase in damaging weather, i just saw an estimate that -- that loss of productivity in the united states and if -- the temperature increases between three and 5 degrees fahrenheit, to swipe two to three degrees celsius -- will be something like 30% of our national productivity -- so -- we, obviously, have to find a way through this. and i pretty optimistic already a couple of review in the book have described me as too optimistic for them i don't think so. we're really clever species, but i don't think we want to destroy ourselves. or the world we live in anymore
than we already have -- so i think that the possibility is there that we can find our way. but it's not going to be the dream of the -- really dream that we can do it all with renewable and a the reason i say that is -- this whole book was built around a graph i found one day. in the work of an italian physicist and futurist named caesar he works out of an institute in vietnam. that is focused on energy issues primarily. he and his colleagues looked at 3,000 instances of energy transitions over the past pieces of energy transitionings over the fast 150 years. ...
strong man. most women cannot do it in those days. the electric car did not require cranking, just turn the switch, so, women thought but electric cars in large numbers. >> the 100 years, yes well it's still lost, electric cars, i know what i was going to say, the batteries in those days for those cars, granted they were smaller and lighter, they would typically take a car about 30 miles, we are not much better now then we were a hundred years ago, so, it's a real challenge to see how we are going to reduce our use of petroleum, setting that aside for a moment and hoping that will get done, we cannot continue with cole. natural gas, which i think for people who are opposed to
nuclear's seems to be the right transition fuel along with renewables. there is only about 50%, or 50% as co2 polluting of the atmosphere is cold. it is not exactly ideal, i think the answer is going to have to be a major reliance on nuclear power, and every renewable that we can use to fit into the places where they fit best, remember, the renewables have the advantage that the energy is basically free except for the cost of building the system that collects it. on the other hand, it is very dilute, it's intermittent, the sun goes down in solar systems no longer are used until the next morning, the sun goes behind a cloud in the solar system is compromised.
nighttime is evidently not a time when the wind blows in any particular intensity. of course, we know how intermittent it is during the day, that's a major problem which you can measure in terms of the capacity factor, these various forms of energy, the capacity factor for solar and wind power is around somewhere between 15 and 30%, they operate about 15 to 30% of the time, nuclear in the united states and throughout the world is about 90% cost-effective, it's really what you can rely on 24 hours a day. i just noticed in the times, google but i think apple is well talking about their desire to move to 100% renewables. they qualified that by saying i don't think we can do that.
they're trying to figure out how to assemble a suite of energy sources that can run 24 hours per day. that may require additional technologies like battery storage, demand response programs meaning some people will have to turn those off when the power goes down, i happen to think that nuclear power is a good and reliable and clean source of energy for the world, you may disagree and may have heard terrible things about it but take a look again at what it is and how it works and where is located, i changed my mind about nuclear when i was writing my book on the atomic bomb, people who developed nuclear energy were the people i was knowing, meeting and talking to, they were decent, morally responsible
senior scientist i finally had to conclude that they knew more about it than i do. and ultimately, that is the way we make our decisions about these things, my conclusion was that i had to take it seriously. the real challenge today is more complicated and this is the last thing i will say before we talk back and forth, it's more complicated than simply dealing with global warming, because much of the world is now finally beginning to develop to the point where people who have lived at the marginal level of near survival, africa and much of asia as well want the kind of life or something like the kind of life that we and the rest
have enjoyed and even take for granted. that means we have two big problems at the same time. want to deal with global warming which means decriminalizing the energy supplies, and two, to do with the understandable and appropriate desire of other people to live in as we do, with any moral justice we cannot deny them that and say you have to stay in your tense or whatever, that's not fair simply, and they would not do it anyway, china is a great example of a country that is growing enormously to a middle-class life, they are planning to build 30 nuclear reactors in the next ten years, and many more after that for the same reason, to supply the energy that their people need, you can chart energy against
lifespan and find that the more per capita energy produced, the longer the lifespan, up to about 70 years and then it levels off, countries that are above the 70 year mark on places like norway, they have to have heating in the wintertime, the united states for whatever reason we use so much energy, think we're moving away from that, but, energy is life, that's the message, what i hope you'll find in this book besides what i think are some really interesting and amusing stories, think you'll find a look about the last 400 years and it has reached a point where the new challenge is now to deal
with it not as a country or regionally, but throughout the whole world. that is our challenge. thank you. [applause] any comments or questions? >> first of all, thank you very much what you do is remarkable i have a question about how optimistic you are? i have taught air quality and climate change for many years. i struggle with trying to giving an optimistic studen message to students. there are many obstacles, i'm curious what your take is. >> again and again as i have written about technologies like
nuclear weapons that are world destroying potentially, i have been struck by how we find ways to work around those problems, in the case of nuclear weapons, in 1945, everybody who is intelligent about this technology was convinced that as soon as a country got a bomb there would be a nuclear war and we would die. oppenheimer felt that way, i asked about that early work and he said you know, i was sitting at a bar in times square and he sat at bars a lot but didn't drink, he picked up girls. he was a good-looking guy. i was sitting at a bar in looking out at the crowd and i thought you poor fools, in two or three more years when russia gets the bomb, you will we will all be dead. he was wrong. they were all wrong, although in
fairness to where we are with weapons, you have to say we are survived by the skin of our teeth, giving the potentials for accidents and miscommunication, the many close calls there were during the cold war, many of which we have not even heard about, but i have heard that there were and i can name a few close calls. i think that what we are going to do, at least i pray but we are going to do is go at this problem once we get past this terrible opening stage were so many people like our presidents are in denial about the whole thing. many others have turned it into a political battle between republicans and democrats. so that i am just amazed that the democratic party as opposed to nuclear power. when i'm from say i'm for
nuclear power people think i'm a right winged republican, we have a lot of cultural change to get through, but, at the same time there's a good deal of effort to move beyond this trouble with accepting these different technologies in finding a way to think beyond our local situation into the largest possible contacts. you are optimistically pessimistic, my wife told me years ago, don't be a hell and abate handbasket guy when you get older. i took it to heart, i think she was right. >> do you have any optimistic view of nuclear energy of the safety issue and disposal issues? >> i talk about that in the book, i know it is something
people have heard again and again and it somehow not solved, that's not true. it's a political problem because this country don't want it in their backyards, but, right now they are dig in the first permanent nuclear waste facili facility, an island off the baltic and coast of finland which will take nuclear waste and put it inside the casing of a particular kind of climate which absorbs heat. then drop it down into a solid bedrock area about 1000 meters below the ground. that's going to stay there not be a problem. even if it did not stay there
one of the things in them sure anyone here in business knows that we discount the cost of things as we move down through the years. so for something that's a problem for our generation we discount the danger for the next generation because we assume they will know more and have more possible solution to the problem that we do. so, it's hard for me to understand people that a little bit of nuclear waste found it swayed back to -- would destroy their world. it wouldn't. even if it would contaminate a local area and i don't think something permanently stored in solid granite is going to go anywhere, we have a facility in mexico called the waste isolation powerplant. the state of new mexico by the
but it's been used as a permanent storage site. it is basically tunnels dug out a full climate or below ground in a giant bed of solid crystal salt. it has been there for several million years, the remains of an old internal ocean that used to cover much of the southern part of the united states. it reaches from southern new mexico into western kansas. there is so much space in it that we could easily store all of the world's nuclear waste for the next 1000 years. i don't think we'll take nuclear waste from other countries i don't think that will happen.
but once it's embedded it has an interesting quality of being a semi liquid in terms of the behavior. it squeezes the containers which is the barrel and it it incorporates them. when my wife and i went through the tunnel, only maybe five years before to get to the places in these rooms that have been carved out, what we noticed was the ceiling and the wall and the floor were all corrected word because the salt was already beginning to fill in that space. so, there are options for disposing of nuclear waste. even more to the point, we dispose of fuel which is fuel that has been run through a reactor once every couple years
and contains about 95% uranium that could be reused. we just buried this stuff because uranium happens to be cheap. the russians have been dumping all their weapons in fact, in the late '90s a physicist had the brilliant idea of offering to buy this from the nuclear warheads that they were dismantling. then, blend it down into reactor fuel 3.5% stated 93%. and sell it to american power companies to use in our reactors. for many years and still today the program finally ended when we bought the remaining fuel the russians had but, i think were
still burning about 20% of our nuclear power coming from russian warheads which is wonderful. it's not available to make warheads again. the fact that it could still be retrieved and recycled. we don't presently recycle the spent fuel. we would have tens of thousands of years of fuel available to us. it's a good power source. i will never understand why the japanese but the backup generators for that system in the basement. then they had tsunamis from time to time, our reactors are typically or generators are typically on the third floor. so they do not get flooded out if there's a flood. but those were early design reactors, they were american
design so where they put the generators was a japanese decision. despite what you may have heard, there were no deaths attributable to radiation off the campus as it were. outside the perimeter of the plant themselves. in fact, there were no deaths at all due to radiation. several workers were injured in the explosions and so forth. so, if that's the worst that we can get in you think about the kind of explosions and damage that occur in oil refinery explosions and other sources of energy, it's 100% safe, that is where he say i think we're going to need it all, judiciously parted out according to what the situation is. and if offshore wind is a reliable source, great.
there will put the money there the kennedys don't think it's within view of -- which you may recall happened a few years ago. and where we need a good baseline source of power. i will never forget going from paris to somewhere in southern france. the train was going about 150 or 200 miles per hour through these fields of lavender. it was beautiful. the aaron francis clean because they are 80% nuclear, they do not put much carbon into the air at all. every 75 miles around the river there it be to nuclear power stations. then another 75 miles to more.
they never had a serious accidents, they get most of their energy from nuclear, the countries have decided that they won't have nuclear power by their electricity from the french. so that is my take on it. >> in iraq, iran, north korea, how many would the united states -- >> with the exception of iraq was never quite got there, countries that go nuclear do not get there uranium from nuclear power. it is not a very reliable source of material. it's physically hot because it has run so long it has some
plutonium in it. we just do not make bombs that way. nobody wants to make more than one bomb makes a bond that way. the idea when you look at peace in the development of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty it was to give the deal to countries who had not gone nuclear, if you pledge not to develop nuclear weapons we will share peaceful nuclear technology with you. it's interesting, the cia estimated around the turn of the 21st century that they were probably 40 countries in the world that had the technological and scientific base to go nuclear if they chose to. of those countries we have nine, north korea is ten, i think. so, most countries that have
that option have opted not to do it. the reason i because when you become a nuclear power you are the target for the other nuclear powers. you're a danger to others regardless of how large or small your country is. north korea being an obvious example. here's an impoverished company living on the thin edge of starvation. now they have gone nuclear and are in the middle of a serious discussion of what they do now. on the other hand, it may finally break the long standoff between the united states and north korea about when working to help them develop the way we help the japanese with south korea. so that's a balance that kim jong-un has been calculating for a long time. it might turn out to be a good thing, the fact is, the only countries to even worry about going nuclear are the rogue
states on the edge, not the major powers. if they have their way and we have a war with iran, i can imagine the entire new middle east going nuclear. it's clear to saudi arabia made a deal long ago to help support pakistan's nuclear weapon. they would probably take some if they ever needed son. saudi arabia has built a missile for their use that is basically an intermediate range ballistic missile that has no conceivable purpose. we would put 10000 pounds of dynamite on top of a multibillion-dollar missile. so it's been a political
calculation about whether one should go nuclear. testing in the 60s to see if reactor made it great weapon and it didn't. we cannot get a reliable yield and the material was physically hot. that meant you had to get rid of all the heat in the warhead ideally they called it the wooden bomb that you could put on a shelf. >> for energy interdependence i wonder if you have a perspective on why it took so long to develop, early work took place in the late 40s and 50s, how did that go on develop for so long? >> i did not look into that. perhaps i should have, we did not look at that long enough. what i do cover in some detail
is the original discovery of oil in saudi arabia in the 20s and 30s and how that happens i want a complicated business that was. no one have been drilling down that far. i said i suppose fracking has to do is when did it become economically reasonable to make that happen. i would assume it depended on oil prices another issues. but i did not include that in the book. >> you're talking about nuclear. my understanding and perhaps you can correct me is that most of the nuclear facilities we use are based on designs over 50 years old. there are many much better designs with less residue and so forth in the problem at this point is acceptance of nuclear power to push those designs
forward. just for the fracking instance until you have directional drilling and control of it you do not have fracking because it was not economic in terms of dealing with formation. >> my ancient memory lost her question. can you tell me again. >> there's much newer technologies. the research technology but with this whole thing about pushing nuclear way. >> again, because primarily what i would call cultural issues or political issues new their powers almost priced out in the united states. the impetus to proceed with new designs, although it is there, there are young companies that are working on these various
possibilities, small reactors that can be built in a factory in standardized in terms of design and then moved out to smaller regional or cityside energy sources. it is very difficult to put together the capital what the resistance to nuclear power. it has manifested itself in a one way ratchet of regulations, more regulations added on but none taken off so it gets -- a good example is the chinese are planning to build some 30 reactors within ten years. it takes us 12 - 15 years to get one reactor license through all the stages it has to go through. that adds as the capital cost of interest for that time it gets in the way. this is intentional on the part
of those who feel like nuclear is integral. that's a long story a lot is included in the book and i will tell you it goes back to the time when people were worried about overpopulation people like paulette stanford he was saying basically in his book let's just write off india and china, they are not for going to catch up. they are going to starve to death so let's not send them medicine, or food. then it will decrease the surplus population as ebenezer scrooge put it in christmas carol, but at that time, nuclear in this country was just developing as a commercial venture. some of the leaders like galvan
who ran the national laboratory that was still have was seeing the answer to overpopulation. they were doing an argument that population would grow geometrically while food supply grows -- there for we would all eventually run out of food. were talking about 20 billion people by 2050. it's just not going to happen. our world population woodcrest at 10 billion, a lot of people to be sure but not 20 billion. the growth rate would be at zero and we would basically be's steady-state after that. why would the population level out it's called the population transition and is a result the people who used to have lots of kids with the hope of one or two
making it to adulthood. coming into a world where medicine, public health and app in economic development make it possible to have a couple of children and expect them all to make it to adulthood. that is happen consistently in country after country. it's now happening throughout the entire world. that's why the idea that somehow we were overpopulated is an antique idea. in the 60s when nuclear power was under major development in the united states, the idea that the population bomb was going to kill us all if you write off india and china it was very much current. you might recall it was a real fear campaign. we were all going to die of overpopulation. it hasn't happened and it is not
going to happen. we are in a place where we can deal more realistically with limited pop world population, and therefore a potentially containable population and energy supply. that's one of the reasons i am more optimistic there may be others. i still hear others talk about overpopulation. it's not happening, thank god. what happened is that people came up with new kinds of green props and improved rice and wheat that made it possible to grow more food on a given area of land and then the efforts by china, india and others to limit their population in other ways, the chinese with their one child policy for a while it was rigorously enforced against
people who may be wanting more than one child. in any case, we are making that transition. it makes the future look more hopeful than it did around 1960 or 70. but it was the concern on the part of people who are worried about overpopulation that if nuclear could provide more energy that we would never solve what they had a serious problem of overpopulation. so there is a threat back and forth of those in favor of limiting population, that letting to environmental. so, you can see the evidence for what i'm saying in the book but that's what i'm saying about it.
>> when the carbon problems become irreversible to have testaments of when that is in is there any cause i deadline? >> i think the world's governments have decided we would like to stay below 2 degrees celsius which is for t something like 1.5 right now, but things have slowed a little bit. you'll find an interesting craft there, i said we would get these 100 year cycles and if you project those out into the present time you see that we will probably, because of the percentage of involvement of renewable sources be less than
1% of the world energy. right now they're just not going to get there. that means, according to this model is going to be natural gas and nuclear power. it'll be over the next 50 years or so. until these other things come on the market and a greater percentage of the total. but, after the oil embargo in the 1970s, this chart suddenly grows. energy sources that were on the decline leveled off. energy sources that were on the increase leveled off and even declined a bit. suddenly, we seem to have different energy types going along as a percentage of the total 1975 or 1980, whether that is going to go back to the
previous pattern, there seems to be a basic pattern for energy over hundreds of years. people looked at 3000 instances of energy over the past 150 years. they found a pattern independent of economic changes, independent of wars independent of depletions, there is something really fundamental about the way our society works. they say it is social learning. we have to deal with these new kinds of energy and it takes a long time. that's why science is slow too. i don't know where it will turn out but i think we're in a better place. right now, everything seems to
be on hold. >> when you look at climate change, part of the problem is the energy transition. the other half is the tipping point. is this a unique situation where there are additional geophysical factors especially in a global scale that require a different rate of transition in the past, i wonder how that tempers your optimism. >> there's always the possibility of something happening that we did not anticipate. we worry about it a lot, what happens if all of the ice is melting and there's a sudden
change to was the current -- of suddenly northern europe is at the temperature it would be if you did not have that warm water coming from the gulf and the caribbean, that would be a big change. it would be a real disaster, a nice analogy, it's true that we have lace them in place with a lot of political and international and military controls of various kinds, but it's also true that one or two go off and they may all go off one way or another, we live on that kind of margin, that's where we have always been, if you follow the tracing back to
africa to a lot of bloodlines you will find that there was a problem at some point, very small population seems to have been the basis for all of us. you sort of wonder what happened there and how do we look out. somebody got into some real trouble and almost did not make it. that is reason for urgency for all of us. they think the republicans and democrats in nuclear power people, it's an argument about the future of the world. the fundamental reason is because human technology if you will has come to the point where world scale nuclear war is one example and another one is global warming. our young people think out have to deal with if you're over 70,
it's a challenge. >> for a number of years those powered the world with nuclear plant, they successfully so let's go back to commercial maritime use, was it economics? >> that's a good question, i don't know, i don't know the answer to that, you would think it would be an obvious thing to do, and six certainly expensive for a ship, and i suspect the russians haven't because they had a more centrally controlled economy and could just order one up, but i don't know the answer, but when you look at the navy after 3-mile island, one of the ways we improve the safety of
our commercial power system was all the people who run our power plants are asked navy, they were trained under the policy of rigid safety and a culture of safety around operating these. but because they have a lot of energy and a small place in dangerous machines, they have a beautiful record of operating power systems well. i will sign books for you. [applause] [inaudible conversation]
[inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] >> here is a look at some authors recently featured on the tvs afterwards. our weekly author interview program that includes best-selling nonfiction books and guest interviewers. we talked about how he escaped death threats in the war in yemen with the help of interfaith activist around the world. pediatric physician detailed efforts to provide scientific evidence that children in flint, michigan were exposed to lead poisoning through the water supply. and marilyn congressman, the first democrat to declare for the 2020 presidential election laid out his vision for america. in the coming weeks, mark adam shares his experience retracing the 1899 expedition through alaska, exploring the differences in the climate then
and now, former white house press secretary, sean spicer discusses his time in the trump administration. amanda carpenter, former senior staffer for ted cruz provides a critical analysis of president trumps political messaging. >> a lot of people do these things when they are caught lying, saying that person is crazy, donald trump just actively pick the target and starts making up lives, so, get you have the things that will pop back up where he thinks there's millions of people voted illegally, at that point he's setting up a rigged narrative. but he can still use that in 2018, he can still use it in 2020. >> and he has. what we saw him starting to say about the meddling it reminds me
of what he said about the rigged election. >> it also has a benefit of publicizing the report whenever it comes out. i think because of the narrative during the election that prevented the fbi from making statements. this does work. it may prevent a report from coming out before 2019. >> afterwards airs on sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern pacific time. all previous shows are available to watch on the website, booktv.org. >> two main measures if you're trying to figure out who is a political scientist, one thing you might say is, who writes the most majority opinions and significant cases, this is a political science measure, as lies we have the physical paper we will use that measure.
>> by that measure, scalia was not the most influential justice. he was in the majorities but he did not write them. often they were written by others. and he was quite senior for a long time. you think he would get those opinion signed to him, except the chief justice did not think he would be able to hold on. >> either what he was trying to say or how he was trying to say it. the other way you might measure influence is by looking at who is the swing justice. who is the one whose vote is the fifth vote. that ties into why scalia did not write a lot of these opinions. to get o'connor or kennedy on board you would have to write something that would appeal to
them. he was not going to compromise what he felt was the right way to compromise the case. he says that so under conventional measures as suggested earlier he was very influential but through his writing a methodology he moved to the middle of the court. he got people talking about statutes in the constitution. you cannot write a brief today, katrying to construe what a statute needs without first going through the words of the statute, what they might say but there is a different way of talking about things. if you go back to the eclectic way courts will go on for five or ten pages about what a statute met but not in